Holiday spending can be hard on the pocketbook--and bought on credit, "Christmas Day" can stretch into the new year for weeks or months.
Ease the Christmas cash crunch with creative ways to save money for Christmas! Financial institutions offer dedicated Christmas clubs for the disciplined, but savvy holiday planners have found other ways to accumulate cash for holiday spending.
Best idea: start now. Saving money for holiday spending is a little less painful with these do-it-now ways to come up with Christmas cash:
Gift Card Cash-in
Purchase a gift card at your favorite department store or retailer. Each week, add funds to the card as you shop. Come holiday time, use the card for Christmas purchases.
Supermarkets compete for your holiday food dollar, offering seasonal rebate programs to build store loyalty. Plan shopping according to the best offer, and use the savings, coupons or rebates to purchase holiday foods.
Change Your Tune
Designate a large "change jar" for holiday spending. Throughout the year, dump loose change into the jar each night, to be used for holiday cash. Note: change kiosks, such as the Coinstar brand, are a convenient way to convert change into cash. The small service charge is worth hours of sorting and stacking!
Have A Hamper
Our friends in the UK swear by the hamper system. Food vendors offer a service that spreads the cost of a "hamper" of holiday foods over the entire year. Although you'll need to compare prices carefully, a hamper can ease financial stress by spreading the cost of the season over a longer period of time. Sign up for seasonal savings!
Round It Down
Clever checkbook management can lead to a Christmas stash. When paying bills each month, "round down" the bank balance to the next even amount--say, from $967 to $900--by writing a dummy check for $67 and deducting it from the register.
Don't cash it, but hold it for Christmas. Over a few months, those "round it down" amounts will add up to holiday funds.
It's an oldie but a goodie: look for one small indulgence to convert to Christmas cash. Bypass the gourmet coffee each day starting now .... and bankroll $300 by Christmas Day!
Track A Budget
How to know what you need--and how close you are to the goal? Set a Christmas budget to make wise decisions about holiday spending.